World powers agree to a partial ceasefire in Syria within a week
The United States Secretary of State John Kerry said the plan was 'ambitious', and it remained to be seen whether the parties honour the commitments.
World powers on Friday agreed to a partial ceasefire in Syria within a week. Following talks in Germany, they said a nationwide “cessation of hostilities” will begin in war-torn nation. However, the move does not apply to the fight against the jihadist groups Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. The announcement was made by the United States Secretary of State John Kerry, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, BBC reported.
The move comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian airstrikes, advances in Aleppo province, parts of which are controlled by rebels. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the cessation will work if Russia stops its raids. However, Lavrov said they will continue. Russia has been saying it is targeting terrorists, though the US and Britain believe its strikes are against moderate groups and rebels.
Kerry called the ceasefire plan “ambitious” and said they will now have to see whether the parties will honour the commitments made. A task force headed by the US and Russia, in consultation with Syria’s warring factions, will work to implement the truce.
Moreover, ministers from the International Syria Support Group agreed to expedite and expand aid deliveries to the country. They are expected to begin on Friday. The group also agreed that peace talks involving the government of Syria and rebels should resume post haste. Earlier this month, peace talks in Geneva had to be suspended days after they convened as a result of the Aleppo offensive. Displaced by the ongoing battle in the province, thousands of Syrians are stranded at the border with Turkey.